This is the first in a series of recollections and stories by a gentleman named Crutch. He was kind enough to sell us an illustrated man.
It looks like it might have been used in the window of a tattoo shop in the 1920’s. It’s a circus carving though.
“I am an older fellow. I bought it from a Circus fellow who had it from another circus fellow who had passed away. It’s a powerful figure…I use to collect real tribal oceanic items and the real ones just had that same sort of aura about them.”
He told us old stories about diving and living in the South Pacific and Malaysia for years. Knew all about the hand poke tattoo method from the old days.Told us about “drown-proofing” tattoos of a pig and rooster as they are the only animals that can’t swim. On sailors feet they bring reverse good luck like the theater greeting of “Break a leg.”
“….there was an old merchant marine engineer i knew as a kid around the docks here he was too old then to sail deepsea ,but he was handy and the dock owner kept him around, he always still wore khaki shirt and trousers like his seagoing officer days but saturated with so much oil on them you could hardly tell the color..his wife an elderly immaculatey clean lady would in the evenings walk down to dock with her spotless little miniature white poodle ..she was opposite ends of the poles in that respect…i use to always wonder about that match….well he was known alot to talk too HIMSELF …the dock owner one day caught him doing this as he was working on some piece of equip. and he said “Hey, why do you talk to yourself” , he looked up and replied ” Mr. T, sometimes I just have to have an intelligent conversation ” then he went back to his conversation and what he was working on… on those cellphones…i grew up in the days ,when we had, where i lived,= no tv ,no ac, and my house no hot water inside …my grandmother would heat water in winter on her woodburning stove and put water in a big zinc washtub to bathe in…1st real running hotwater i got was the usn …i though that pretty darn good…here see how she goes= i am rambling off on another tangent …i stop for now…..”
Here’s some of Crutch’s other wonderful items we admired.
“i like old sailor carved coconuts and scrimmed seashells ,the 1 small nuts were part of the sailing ship Peruvians cargo that went aground 1880s in a storm off England beach…the nuts were to make buttons from, well to try and lighten ship to refloat they tossed this cargo overside and a local artist gathered and did ship silhoettes of the event…the coco is dated 1878 i think it is cant remember ether 1876 or 8.”